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Interview: Rove Downtown’s Naveen Advani on the importance of adaptability

Hotel manager believes hiring the right people and fostering authentic experiences are key to standing out from the competition

It comes as a surprise to learn that Rove Downtown hotel manager Naveen Advani once pursued a career in medicine, hoping to become a doctor. However, one-and-a-half years into the programme, he realised that it wasn’t right for him and started exploring other careers. That’s when he stumbled into hospitality. Four years later, with a degree from the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, he has found his calling at the homegrown hotel brand.

Connecting Travel: What are the USPs of your property?
Naveen Advani: Connectivity, and a fuss-free environment where people can be themselves with all the amenities at disposal – these are what define the whole Rover guest experience. Whether you are travelling for business, looking for a staycation with your family, or in town to explore the city, Rove Downtown is right at the heart of it all as it’s located right next to the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, as well as the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Additionally, we offer plenty of convenient facilities for our Rovers, such as a 24-hour convenience store, laundromat, self-parking, our very own cinema, a podcast studio and even rooms catering to gamers!

Locally inspired design at Rove DowntownLocally inspired design at Rove Downtown

Apart from functionality, we also like to make sure our spaces are cool and unique. As such, we work with local artists to infuse our interiors with a funky design that reflect the neighbourhoods around our hotels. All of this, plus an amazing team of highly engaged and motived Rovesters [staff], make the Rove experience unique.

CT: How do you attract and maintain good staff?
NA: We not only want to give Rovers an environment where they can be themselves, but the same applies for our Rovesters as well. To make that happen, we incorporate a flat hierarchy and implemented an open-door policy to maintain a friendly and encouraging atmosphere at all times.

We hire our Rovesters based on personality, not on skills, and we allow them to have authentic interactions with our Rovers. It sounds simple but it makes all the difference in terms of the quality of the service and makes them feel much more valued than if they were following a much more structured approach.

Rove Downtown guest roomRove Downtown guest room

CT: What strategies have you implemented to increase occupancy and revenue?
NA: It is all about adaptability in the ever-dynamic and fast-paced hospitality industry. When all the other hotels chose to take a step back during the Covid-19 pandemic, Rove Downtown and the Rove group in general took a step forward in adapting quickly to its surroundings to help deliver the best and a safe environment for Rovers and Rovesters We transitioned our meeting spaces into safe working spaces, introduced office rooms by converting the bedrooms, offered an outlet to express through our Podcast Studio, which has become our best-selling event venue, and extended clear long-stay offers that gave Rovers flexibility at a time of great uncertainty.

Efficiency and speed are the watchwords at Rove Hotels, and we continue to drive innovation with the launch of our Gamer Caves – the region’s first-ever gaming rooms; our in-hotel Reel Boutique Cinema; and the recently launched #RoveWithNikon film and photography studio at Rove Dubai Marina.

CT: What are your key source markets?
NA: We continue to be the preferred choice for those looking to stay in a unique, centrally located property for an amazing value – a basecamp to allow them to explore all that the city has to offer. While staycations and domestic travel remain high on our priority list at the moment, Rove Downtown is a very popular location for travellers coming from GCC markets and western countries such as the US, UK and other European countries.

Rove Downtown poolRove Downtown pool

CT: More than a year into the pandemic, how is the hospitality sector currently performing?
NA: The hospitality sector is seeing a pickup in the post-pandemic world. Dubai remains one of the top destinations in 2021, which demonstrates the resilience of the nation, underlining the fact that it’s a sought-after destination despite the ongoing travel restrictions. Rove Downtown, as well as the other properties in the Rove Hotels portfolio, continue to be quite busy. In addition, with Expo 2020 Dubai less than three months away, we have started seeing some keen interest and anticipate an influx of travellers in the coming months.

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CT: What makes you a good hotelier?
NA: Having a diverse background and parents that both worked in the airline industry; hospitality has always been a large part of me. Additionally, with a background in sales and operations, you quickly understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to make a business successful.

CT: Do you have new properties in the pipeline?
NA: The location and connectivity to everything the city has to offer are the two key driving factors of our expansion plans. We are always looking for fun and well-connected spots to cater to solo travellers, families and business travellers, visiting for work or leisure stay. For instance, Rove Downtown is located at the heart of the city, sitting opposite the largest mall in the world, checking off all the boxes.

Rove Hotels will be opening two new hotels this year: Rove Expo, the only hotel at Expo 2020 Dubai, and Rove City Walk in Dubai’s latest and most popular urban lifestyle neighbourhood. We’ve also recently launched the Rove Media Room.

For more information, visit www.rovehotels.com

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